OCC administers the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), an $8.7 billion block grant, to state, territory, and tribal governments. When combined with state matching and maintenance of effort funds, as well as funds transferred from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, annual funding for CCDF is about $11.7 billion. In addition, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136) provided $3.5 billion in supplemental CCDF funds to help state, territory, and tribal lead agencies address COVID-19 impacts. CCDF is the largest dedicated federal funding source for child care. It provides subsidies for eligible children from birth through age 12 and their families to help pay for child care and funds quality activities that improve care for all children (e.g., training and professional development for child care workers). States have a great deal of flexibility to design their child care programs within federal parameters and requirements. In partnership with OCC, CCDF grantees enhance children's learning by implementing policies to improve the quality of early learning and afterschool programs. CCDF grantees also fund quality improvement activities and initiatives (e.g., training for child care providers, quality rating and improvement systems) that benefit all children in child care. In FY 2020, states must spend at least 9 percent of funds on quality improvement activities and an additional 3 percent on infant/toddler quality improvement.
Parental choice is a key component of CCDF. Every parent is given the choice of receiving services from any legally operating provider (in child’s home, family child care home, or child care center) that meets health and safety requirements. OCC also funds a network of Technical Assistance Centers to share innovative practices and help meet grantee needs. In addition, OCC works with ACF’s Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) to carry out extensive child care research that assists grantees and the larger child care field with decision-making on policy and practice.
OCC is focused on supporting grantee efforts and offering maximum flexibility to implement the CCDF program to increase child care access, affordability, quality, and choice for low-income working parents. A key element of developing the CCDF plan is to engage a broad-based group of partners including federal, state, local, and tribal agencies and state advisory councils to increase the supply of providers, using stakeholder feedback through public hearings and including input from public and private organizations to identify community needs and priority populations. OCC is also committed to supporting child care providers, with an increasing focus on family child care providers, an important option that has been declining significantly in recent years.
Another important purpose of the CCDF program is to make consumer education information easily accessible to parents. ChildCare.gov, a national website to help parents access safe and quality child care services in their community, provides a shortcut to state consumer education websites where parents can search for information on available child care providers using a zip-code based search; the quality of child care, as available; provider monitoring and inspection reports; and links to local child care resource and referral organizations. OCC also encourages lead agencies to include additional information about other programs for which the family might be eligible, such as TANF, HS/EHS, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other services and programs beyond what is required in the CCDF final rule, including job training programs, medical services, and public schools in the area when children reach school-age. By including additional resources, states and territories can help parents quickly access needed information.
The CCDF program places importance on prevention of and response to child abuse and neglect. All grantees are required to have standards around recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect as well as prevention of sudden infant death syndrome, shaken baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, and child maltreatment and standards around the use of safe sleep practices. All grantees are required to have pre-service or orientation and ongoing training for all providers on all of these topics. All grantees are required to monitor child care providers and respond to complaints of child abuse and neglect and make the results of these monitoring and inspection reports publically available their consumer education websites, including aggregate data on serious injuries, deaths, and substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect. Many grantees already collaborate with their state, local, and tribal child welfare agencies in the development of these standards, training, monitoring, and reporting for their CCDF plan, and OCC encourages this collaboration.
More information about the Preschool Development Grant Program Birth through Five.
More information about Tribal MIECHV.